Today is dedicated to Steven Hull, an artist and curator of multiple text/image projects. I met Steven when he invited me to work on a project called Ab/Ovo. For it, “test subject” artists were given the MMPI test, writers were given the results and asked to pen children’s stories based on the personalities revealed in the MMPIs, and then our stories were given to different artists to inspire artwork. (Though I don’t know who my test subject was, I was lucky enough to be paired with Paul Noble for the print end of things.) This project became a traveling exhibition, a book, and a website.
More recently, Steven and artist Tami Demaree spearheaded a large-scale project called Nothing Moments, which is now the name of his publishing endeavor. For this, he coordinated over 100 artists and writers to team up to make single-story paperbacks in which fiction and drawing commingled. Furthermore, he enlisted talented designers, Jon Sueda and Annie Buckley, to curate the design of each book in the 24-book series. These books range wildly in design and in textual style, but have a uniform shape and fit together as a set, which comes in a canvas sack. Steven has worked all this through the art community, often publishing with the help of independent investors and gallery assistance. It’s refreshing to see someone pull these types of publishing projects off outside the literary world schema.
These are fabulous books and though they’re available at Amazon.com and in a few select independent bookstores, few people know about them. It may be easiest to order direct from the site. I have read several and highly recommend the Benjamin Weissman/Amy Gerstler/Thaddeus Strode book, Most Ridiculous and Least Respectable, the Sean Dungan/Gail Swanlund collaboration, Unwelcomeness, Rachel Kushner's, The Great Exception, and Lynne Tillman's Love Sentence. There is also an anthology culled from many different authors that has some tasty nuggets included. There are many more gems in there, I’m sure!
Links and images to books mentioned...
Sean Dungan's Unwelcomeness homepage: